I recently finished reading Amanda Lindhout’s memoir, A House in the Sky. Since I turned the last page, the images and details from Amanda’s ordeal in Somalia, kidnapped and held hostage for 460 days, stay with me.

Those who held her captive were really just kids. Kids who did horrible, unspeakable things. What amazes me most about her story is that she is able to forgive them. She has come to realize that they are victims of circumstance.

Through this ordeal, Amanda has also come to value the power of education. “I’d spent so much time in captivity wondering about the boys who guarded me, specifically, whether they’d have been different – less entrenched in religious extremism and war – if they’d had more opportunities to go to school, and maybe more meaningfully, if they’d been raised in homes where their mothers and sisters had been able to attend school.”

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am especially thankful that we have schools to go to, that our schools are not places of indoctrination and that education is valued and accessible in Canada. I am thankful for my freedom, for the ability to see the sky each day, for living in a country where I am not afraid to be alone on the street or in my home. I am thankful to be surrounded by loved ones.

Perhaps Meister Eckhart says it best, “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”

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